Realtor partners are excellent sources of referrals and they can help you build your business. But how do you stand out and make yourself an irreplaceable asset to your Realtor partners? Your knee-jerk reaction might be to pay for ads or deliver leads to real estate agents.
Although this makes logical sense, this approach turns you into a dime-a-dozen mortgage originator instead of an integral part of a Realtor’s business. There’s another approach that’s so simple, it’s easy to overlook. Here’s how you can build that one-of-a-kind relationship.
There are common things originators will say to Realtors to entice them into developing a solid referral relationship. These include: I’ll help you build your business. I’ll pay for leads. Here’s some lead-management software I have. These are some of the means of getting more cash into the Realtor’s pocket.
It’s not that this approach is bad, it’s simply common, which means there’s no real pull for the Realtor to choose you over someone else. You need to give your Realtor partners something different and to do that you need to think beyond the business relationship. What do your Realtor partners enjoy? Are they family people? What are their interests or hobbies?
Maybe you hear from Realtors with children or grandchildren who aren’t sure what to do when they’re spending time with the little ones. With all of the extra time families have been spending together over the past year, creativity for new ideas could be running dry.
One thing you could do to add more value to your relationship with these people is to create a quality-time newsletter that is sent out weekly to all of your Realtor partners with kids or grandkids. This would contain ideas for new crafts, adventures and activities they can do together.
Likewise, maybe one of the Realtor partners you’ve got your eye on shares a love for vintage cars. It could be worthwhile to do regular outings to vintage car shows or to show them the pictures of the first-generation 1967 Pontiac Firebird you rebuilt with your dad.
You become irreplaceable by focusing on the connection in the relationship. You’ll find areas where you can help your Realtor partners outside of the mortgage industry that will elevate you to the status of a trusted adviser. Can you add in some business perks? Of course. Just don’t rely on these pieces alone to seal the deal.
The world is filled with problems and your Realtor partners have people blowing up their phones at every turn with the latest “uh-oh” of the day. One of the best ways to stand out is to be the person with solutions instead of another person bombarding them with problems.
If you need to bring a problem to the attention of a Realtor partner, take a beat before speaking with them and approach the conversation with a thought-out solution. When you bring solutions to the table, you ease the agent’s nerves. This means they start associating you with positive feelings instead of negative ones. By showing up with solutions, you show the Realtor how you approach stressful situations, how you process emotions and how you communicate when you’re under pressure.
Relationships are strengthened when you overcome a challenge as a team. When you become a Realtor’s solution person, you reinforce the trust and connection in your relationship. This helps to position you as someone your Realtor partner wants to keep in their inner circle.
Realtors are used to being looked at as cash cows due to the high-quality leads they deliver. Because this puts them in high demand, Realtors can become a little pushy or less responsive. Don’t let this discourage you. If you lead with the transaction, then the real estate agent will put up their walls and you’ll have a hard time climbing to the top. Instead, lead with a values-based relationship.
A values-based relationship is when you connect with someone based on who they are instead of what they can give you. It’s already clear that there’s an advantageous relationship between Realtors and originators. The ability to do good business together is inherent. What isn’t clear is whether you’re the type of person the Realtor wants to share experiences and clients with ― that’s where the values-based relationship comes in.
The first way to take the transaction out of the relationship is to get the Realtor to talk about themselves. Learn what they’re excited about and then share in that emotion. If you can’t share that excitement, the referral relationship is likely not a fit. When you can connect with a Realtor about things that bring them joy and fulfillment, they can relate to you beyond the transaction of referrals.
A great way to develop a genuine connection with other people is to learn how to ask good questions and truly listen to their answers. When you ask a question, lean into the answer and don’t worry about what your next question is. Instead, you want to dive deeper into the conversation with the other person. For example, if you ask someone what their favorite cookie is and they reply, “chocolate chip,” then you can follow up with, “I love chocolate chip cookies. I used to make them with my grandma when I was little. Why are they your favorite?”
On the surface, this looks like a conversation about cookies. What’s really happening is you’re showing that you listened to their answer, you have something in common and you’re interested in knowing them more deeply than just being aware of their favorite cookie. Questions and statements like “why?” or “tell me more about that” give the person you’re speaking with the opportunity to share more things about themselves. This is important for developing a real, values-based relationship.
Private messages on social media should start with personal matters. Avoid talking shop in that space. … Social media is for personal connection. The phone, texting and email are for business.
There are a lot of ways to connect with your Realtor partners. You likely already use the phone quite a bit for conversations, but with more millennials (and even Gen Zers) entering the real estate market, there are other platforms you should pay attention to.
Social media is one sphere of influence that will help you connect with your Realtor partners. Pay attention to what they’re posting. When you comment, share, like or interact with their content, the real estate agent is seeing your face and noticing that you’re actively engaging with them. It associates your face and name with positive feelings in their mind.
Do not get into debates. If you disagree with someone’s perspective or know some information to be false, simply move along and note whether that person is a fit for you. Arguing on-line will not build a relationship. If you want to go the extra mile, send your Realtor partner a message on social media about a personal post they made.
This message could be you offering support, checking in on how they’re doing or giving them praise for being awesome. Private messages on social media should start with personal matters. Avoid talking shop in this space. If it starts to move that direction, transition the conversation to another medium to keep the lines clear for what each container of connection is for. Social media is for personal connection. The phone, texting and email are for business.
Texting is another great way to communicate. There’s a convenience factor to texting that allows you to have a conversation quickly without having to schedule a call. Although you can certainly text about business, texting also is a great way to check in with your potential Realtor partners to see how they’re doing.
A simple, “Hey, I wanted to see how your day is going,” text can make someone’s day. It also takes you out of the stack of other originators trying to meet for (virtual) coffee or constantly talking shop. When you invest time and energy into the person you’re looking to work with, there’s a natural reciprocation that occurs. Keep in the back of your mind that building these relationships is just like building a friendship — put the focus on the other person.
● ● ●
Pay attention to people — with 61% of adults in the U.S. reporting that they’re lonely, more people than you know are starving for attention. Making yourself indispensable isn’t necessarily about bringing in the most money for your Realtor partner.
Yes, making money is important. How that money is made and the feeling your referral partner has while making it is even more important. Developing a relationship that’s based on connection rather than transactions is the way to win long-term, highly valuable relationships in which your worth is appreciated. ●